Wednesday, October 7

Social Media Marketing? Learn from Successful eBay Sellers

Once you're a participant in social media, you'll quickly get to meet the "experts." They wildly tout their business and online acumen and attempt to sell you their advice. But really? What have they really sold? The proof of any expert is how much they have earned in practice.

eBay was growing in the early days of 1996 (when I started selling). People would come to the site and buy from others on trust. Trust that was displayed in the seller's description, trust that was built on transactions and feedback. People from across the country would send money to absolute strangers and merchandise would be shipped.

Tens of thousands of sellers became "Trust Agents" (thank you Chris Brogan); making a living and building real business through trust and reliability. I put my daughter (see below) through college on my eBay earnings; and I didn't do it by just giving advice. I sold stuff.

eBay's feedback system has been building reputations for honest, trustworthy people who really make money on the internet. A brilliant idea from Pierre Omidyar, eBay's founder. Click here to see his original statement on trust and community from 1995.

Ask any experienced eBay seller how to be successful with social marketing. They know how to do it - they don't just talk about it. Ask my friend John (@ColderICE) Lawson; he's got over 75,000 feedbacks on eBay. That's one heck of a community.

I wrote my first book on eBay in 1999. Today my books are in seven languages and I've sold over a million. People take my advice because I do it; I'm honest and I give solid information. That's one heck of a community based on trust.

We've been doing Social Media since 1996. I have over 6800 feedbacks on eBay. I'm successful and so are they. Ask a long time eBay seller how.

(Yes, That's my daughter @SusanDickman helping ship items when she was in college)

(A Tweet from Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay about this post - Thank you)


  1. eBay sellers are indeed the perfect model for social media: putting together a concise description, adding a very few clear photos, and marketing items through a wide variety of channels. Feedback is the finishing touch. ... and if a seller fails the test as a trust agent, goodbyes are swift and true. Not always perfect, but the perfect model at least and relentless in seeking perfection.

  2. How right you are Marsha and thanks for reminding me of the value of that feedback. Just listened to John Lawson re-iterating that fact. eBay sales and feedback are the starting point for making real money selling on the internet. You build from that base and you are on a firm foundation
    Encouraging to read that today as I plan the next stage of my world domination plan! (ha)

  3. Awesome post Marsha. I think that the real litmus test of a seller with the eBay feedback system, and an incredibly valuable part of building trust, is how you handle negative feedback as well. For as much as every quality eBay seller works to make each transaction a positive one, there are some less experienced buyers who thinks the only recourse to an issue is to leave negative feedback rather than try to resolve it before doing so.

    Demonstrating to the community of buyers that you are fair and balanced in the way you handle an unhappy customer is incredibly powerful in building positive reputation and trust in the eBay community - and the feedback system has the transperancy to do just that.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. I read this last night as soon as you posted on twitter, and it got me thinking a little last night, so I decided to comment the following:
    I have to agree... and disagree at the same time, I agree to the point that says: If you are telling me that you will teach me how to make sales, at least prove it to me, and our friend John @colderice is an excellent sales (and an excellent customer support too).
    And I have to disagree, simply because I personally think that eBay members did not contribute in it (they helped spread it a little though) but it's been around since the beginning of time on the Internet through forums, chat rooms, RSS feeds, etc. through geeks and nerds. Mean while when I think of eBay sellers, I think that's 99% of them do nothing but plug, plug, plug in their social profile to the point that some of their facebook "personal profiles" have their logo instead of their faces! and from experience with many, I believe that it's very hard to change people's mentality from sell, sell, sell, to just share, share, share. An example of that was my speech at eBay live in 2008. I know of 3 people out of everyone that attended actually applied the above method to just share, the rest... well let's just say I ignore their facebook, twitter and youtube plugs to sell!
    That's just my own opinion :-)

  5. In my experience with the eBay and Social Media community I have seen many who do it wrong. There's only a small percent in any community who do any job right. But those who do it? They are the ones who are around today. Those who earn a living at anything - long term - must be doing something right.

    That is the point. That is why so few watched the short video I made on social media, they don't care enough to do it right. They look for the quick fix and don't read books.

  6. 100% agreed. I love how you plugged your videos :-) I love all your videos though, including the one I filmed about ur books ;-)
    Now the question is: As a true expert, can you come up with a way to change that mentality? To keep the people away from the quick fixes?! If you do? please let me know because I'm having a hard time convincing some of my clients :-)

  7. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Story of my career ...

  8. :-) was thinking more than (maybe) a medical magic potion to make people drink it and become better online community, but then again we will have to talk to some doctors first.
    For now I will stick with my geek combination of p90x + water + any geek food I can find (-the energy drinks) and a good hit on the head to some peeps :-)

    Until we find the cure (psst: I am working on one) we just have to wait :-)

  9. Bravo Marsha, for putting a clearer perspective on those who are and those who "say" they are experts!

    Rock on, Lady!

  10. The fact is, social media is not a solution to any particular problem. It is just another tool you can use to help you accomplish whatever your business goal might be, by opening up new markets you might not otherwise be able to reach. Social media also provides an inexpensive way to market your product, company or brand. No need to shell out thousands or even hundreds of dollars on traditional marketing when social media marketing involves mostly free tools and limited investment in labor.

    Social Media Expert


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